Trump touts 5,000 Sprint jobs returning to U.S. shores

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump on Wednesday touted plans by a Japanese mogul to bring 8,000 jobs to the United States.

They could be the first of the 50,000 jobs tech billionaire Masayoshi Son promised to create after meeting with the president-elect earlier in December.

In the grand scheme of the economy, the jobs announcement is unlikely to have a major impact. Still, it’s another example of how Trump is trying to stoke voters’ belief that he is actively fighting for their well-being.

Son is the founder and chief executive of SoftBank, one of Japan’s largest technology outfits. He owns the U.S. mobile carrier Sprint, which Trump said Wednesday would be moving 5,000 jobs “back” to the United States.

Son also controls OneWeb, which Trump said would hire 3,000 workers. OneWeb is developing small, low-orbit satellites to provide wireless internet access in remote areas.

The Sprint jobs will be in customer care, sales and other functions, the Overland Park, Kan.-based company said in a statement. Sprint is still determining the location of the positions, which will be filled by the end of March 2018, it said.

Sprint had about 30,000 employees as of the end of March.

It was unclear whether the president-elect was referencing the Dec. 6 commitment by Son to invest $50 billion in the United States and create 50,000 jobs.

Trump said the addition of 8,000 jobs was “because of what’s happening and the spirit and the hope.”

Still, the U.S. job market has been robust for much of 2016. Employers have added more than 2.2 million jobs over the past 12 months — a sign of economic health that predates Trump’s presidential victory.

Sprint has struggled since its 2013 acquisition by SoftBank. The carrier shed roughly 9,000 workers between 2012 and 2016, according to annual reports.

Sprint’s attempt to join with Bellevue-based rival T-Mobile failed in 2014 after regulators objected to combining two of the four largest mobile-telecom companies in the United States.

Analysts say a Trump administration would be more likely to approve telecom mergers, including a deal between Sprint and T-Mobile US.

Sprint Chief Executive Marcelo Claure said in a statement that the company is “excited” to work with Trump.

“We believe it is critical for business and government to partner together to create more job opportunities in the U.S. and ensure prosperity for all Americans,” Claure said.

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